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David Young

David Lawrence Young was born in May 1958 in Norfolk, Virginia. The son of a U.S. Navy officer, David spent his formative years moving from one naval base to another, including stints in Virginia, South Carolina, Japan, and Washington D.C.

David’s parents were very involved in music, and by age six he was performing in theatre productions, church choirs, and glee clubs. His first public theatre performance was in 1964 when he played the part of Louis Leonowens in The King and I before more than 3,000 military personnel and their families on the naval base in Yokosuka, Japan. David’s first formal music lessons began at age seven, when he studied classical piano. The next year, 1966, David watched the Beach Boys perform live, saw the Beatles’ film Help!, and received his first stringed instrument – a ukulele.

In 1969, David’s father retired from the Navy and moved the family to Levittown, Pennsylvania, where David resumed classical piano lessons; he also continued to be involved in the theatre as well as church and school choirs. In 1970, David met Jamie Thompson in their seventh grade Spanish class. Although it was several years before the two began playing music together, they became fast friends. While Jamie focused more on the rock’n’roll genre, David’s music was more on folk oriented. By 1973 David was writing and performing original songs at school, churches, and coffeehouses. He also continued to be involved in the theatre and performed in many dramatic plays and musicals. David also was a member of the Neshaminy High School Concert Choir, which toured in Germany and performed at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

The first musical interaction between David and Jamie occurred in the spring of 1974 when the two friends jammed at several house parties. Then, in the fall of 1975, the two formed the Treetoads, a progressive folk/rock band committed to writing and performing original music. In addition to Jamie and David on guitar, the band also featured Edna Shandleman on cello, Jeff Snyder on flute, Dan Kelly on bass and mandolin, and Ed Stanton on percussion. Although the Treetoads only performed twice in public (Bucks County Community College and the Neshaminy High School Spring Arts Festival), the partnership between Thompson and Young formed the nucleus of what eventually became Red Rose Cotillion.

After David graduated high school in 1976, he moved to State College, PA, to study English literature at Penn State. While there, David teamed up with a Neshaminy High Concert Choir friend, Jerry Getz, and the two performed primarily at coffeehouses, house parties, and University-related events. While the duo initially performed mostly cover songs, it wasn’t long before they were adding their original songs to the repertoire. By the fall of 1977, the two had a substantive following and added several local bars and restaurants to their schedule.

During the summers of 1977 and 1978, David and Jerry worked with Jamie on writing and performing original music. In July 1978, the trio first performed as Red Rose Cotillion at an outdoor concert in Langhorne, PA, as well as several parties. Then, in the spring of 1980 Jamie moved to State College for good, and Red Rose Cotillion morphed into a full-fledged rock’n’roll band. See the History of RRC for more details.

Throughout the original Red Rose Cotillion years, David remained prolific as a songwriter, penning a healthy mix of folk-oriented ballads as well as straight-ahead rock’n’roll tunes. Many of his songs dealt with social issues, from capital punishment (Awaiting Execution) to nuclear proliferation (Time), and by the time the band broke up, RRC had gained the reputation of not only a high-energy jam band but a group with a message as well.

After RRC, David moved to Pittsburgh with Budd Kelly, who invited David to join a new incarnation of Budd’s former band, Arabesque. The band performed at the 1982 Festival of the Arts as well as the Phyrst. The next spring, David and Budd established a new group, LightFace, with bassist James Hudson Ashworth, drummer Scott Dietz, and saxophonist Christian Bruckoff. Although Lightface only remained together for a short time, the group performed at a number of venues, including the 1984 Festival of the Arts.

In 1985, when Jamie Thompson moved from Santa Cruz, California to Pittsburgh, David, Budd, and Jamie formed a new incarnation of Red Rose Cotillion and produced After the Flood, which included several legacy RRC songs such as “Wind,” “Running Free,” and Jamie’s song “Nomad.” Teaming up with bassist James Hudson Ashworth and drummer Steve Mobley, they performed the collection at several Pennsylvania venues, including the Phyrst and the 1987 State College Festival of the Arts.

In 1987, David moved from Pittsburgh to Westport, Connecticut. During the 1990s, David moved to New Jersey, where he began a career as a communications consultant, concentrated on writing songs, and worked on improving his guitar playing, performing mostly at churches, weddings, and coffeehouses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In 1997, David and Jamie teamed up with a bass player and drummer to perform a set of original songs at an outdoor concert in Washington’s Crossing, Pennsylvania. Shortly after that, David moved to New Hampshire, where he currently lives.

David continues to write and perform extensively, most often with Crazy Cowz ( He has produced two solo CDs, Songs for a Winter’s Eve and Pencil Sketches, and is working on a new CD with his partner, Susan Lang.


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